THE LEADERSHIP TEAM
Regional Development Coordinator
National Fundraising Coordinator
Workshops Coordinator & Safeguarding Officer
Welcome Team Coordinator
Programme Runners Coordinator
Front of House
Small Groups Coordinator
Click to read each of our stories...
Regional Development Coordinator
Small Groups Coordinator
Front of House
Workshops Coordinator & Safeguarding Officer
Programme Runnners Coordinator
My name's Isaac and I'm a third year English student at Birmingham University. I grew up in a Catholic family and am the youngest of five. My early experience's of faith were mass on Sunday's, praying as a family in the evening and having to forgive siblings that annoyed me (which our parents insisted on). It was a practical everyday kind of faith. Our home parish was not the most youthful of environments though, so when my parents discovered Youth 2000, they began to take me and my siblings along. Being the youngest, I mainly just went for the football and the music, not realizing what was fully on offer. However, I never found the retreats boring, as the people I encountered there were so happy and full of life, and I didn't understand why. Many of them were also cool... and my young mind didn't find that compatible with Church, so I kept coming, hoping to one day find out what the reason for their joy was.
When I was about 16 I started to understand more of what was going on, how Christ was present in adoration and how incredible the Mass really is. This was all really helpful as people at school were starting to ask me why I believed what I believed, and without Youth 2000 I wouldn't have been able to give them a real answer. The more I began to understand my faith, the more I wanted to pray, the more I enjoyed worship and the more I came alive. Not to say it was smooth sailing after that, especially living on the university scene, where holding to any objective truth is often seen as unreasonable. However, knowing I can return to the sacraments for strength and to my really good friends at the University chaplaincy and Youth 2000 for support, gives me a lot of peace. Without Youth 2000, I suspect I would never have found the answers I was searching for, or ever fully encountered Christ. At the last Walsingham festival, somebody handed me this line of scripture and it has been my prayer recently. 'Finally, be strong in The Lord and in the strength of his power'. Ephesians 6:10
Whilst Youth 2000 has always felt like home, a place to go to during difficult times, more recently it has brought me closer to God by instilling a love for His presence in the Blessed Sacrament. Praise and Worship is amazing but my favourite Youth 2000 moment has to be when it’s silent in the Big Top, and only you kneeling opposite the Blessed Sacrament, feeling His nearness and love washing over you. Hard to beat really! After studying History at Cambridge University and working for Youth 2000 for a year, I now work as a fundraiser. The theme of the Walsingham Prayer Festival a couple of years ago was ‘Promises’, and having covered the costs by the last day of the festival I can truly say He does keep His promises! God is never outdone in generosity!
Youth 2000 has been huge part of my conversion to faith. Growing up with a family rooted in the catholic faith, I knew about the faith but I did not KNOW the faith for myself. I went to mass as a child and was encouraged to pray at home but only wanted to pray when it was on my terms and found mass a boring experience. I shortly lost interest in the faith and was not interested at all in going to mass and refused to acknowledge faith as a teenager.
During this time, I was experiencing a lot of negativity in my life, which I struggled to deal with and felt lost. After an encounter with a family friend in my late teens who was a Catholic Missionary in the Philippines, I began to re-explore my faith as I was struck by the depth of her joy and peace. I recognised a yearning within myself to want an inner peace that she possessed and with encouragement I began occasionally attending mass and saying the odd prayer. By God’s grace, I began to want to go to mass every Sunday but was afraid of what my housemates and friends would say about going to Church.
It was in my final year of University that I was invited to my first Youth 2000 retreat by a friend who had said how powerful and stirring the weekend was. Looking back on the circumstances that led me to attend my first Youth 2000, God’s beauty was all around me and that he knew exactly how to bring me back to a faith of happiness, peace and love despite my stubbornness.
“Nothing is far from God” – St Monica
My name is Barbara and I have been volunteering at Youth 2000 for a couple of years now. It has been an amazing journey which started long before I was serving on the leadership team. I'm from Scotland and I grew up in a Catholic family - we went to Mass on Sunday and received all our sacraments. However (for reasons unknown) by time I went to university - I stopped regularly attending Mass. A couple of years went by where my Mass attendance increased only during exam time... But even in this period - God was working in my life by placing good and faithful people in my life.
During my third year of university, I felt prompted to start reciting basic prayers - 1 Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be per day for example. It wasn't long after I felt prompted to go to Church one Saturday evening, I went to confession for the first time in years and had a powerful encounter with Jesus in Adoration. God can truly transform whatever little we offer him - and He will meet us where we are at.
So fast forward a few years, I'm working as a lawyer in London, living my faith as best as I can - but I was really missing a community to support me. I went to the Y2K New Year retreat - 'Homecoming' and again God transformed my life in a totally new way! Through love, laughter and service - I rediscovered that Truth from years before - that I was beloved in His sight.
Since that homecoming retreat - I have journeyed with Youth 2000, met some amazing people and certainly lived an abundant life in Christ!
My story is one of constant re-amazement. Just when I think I've 'figured' it all out - God reveals more and more of his infinite Love.
Welcome Team Coordinator
I first heard about Youth 2000 when I was in my final year at uni, from my eldest sister, Nicky. At the time I was going to Sunday mass but wasn't really wanting to give more time to God than I had to. Sad but true! Thankfully Nicky can be very persuasive and she manage to talk me into going to Walsingham. That summer festival blew me away! I was shocked to see so many young people my age happy and excited about being Catholic! I got answers to some really big questions I had struggled with for years and I discover the JOY that lies in entrusting everything to God. It felt like the things I had been taught growing up all of a sudden made sense and I experienced Gods love for me in an amazing way.
After this I tried to put God first in my life, this wasn't always easy and at times I did fail, but soon my relationship with God got stronger and stronger and so choosing His will for me became easier. A big part of this was deciding to take some time out of primary teaching and move up to Craig Lodge Community, where many young people do a "Gap Year with God." I also continued to go to Youth 2000 events as much as I could. Between Craig Lodge & Youth 2000 my faith was set on fire! I discovered the treasure of adoration and a deep love for our Church in all its richness! I feel like I have received a gift so precious that to say thank you every day is not enough!
So when, in 2013, I was given the chance to work for Youth 2000 I was over the moon! I now get to spend my days planning events for other people to encounter Christ, like I did back at my first Youth 2000 Festival. What a gift!
Graduated in history from the University of Leicester in 2013 and volunteered as a lay missionary for two years. I now work part time for Youth 2000 as Regional Development Coordinator (the guy that helps set-up and establish prayer groups). I am incredibly blessed to work this role as it gives me so many opportunities to see God’s faithfulness and to work with loads of incredible young people.
I grew up in a Catholic family where there was a lot of love, towards each other and towards strangers. My parent’s compassion and friendship towards everyone they met was a huge inspiration to me, and as I moved from school to university I knew that God was calling me to be just as open-hearted. I was massively challenged by the radical difference between my experience of family life and my experience in university, and as my values, morals and focus were all challenged, I really had to ask myself ‘is my parent’s faith my faith?’
Yes it is. I believe Jesus when he told us he is ‘the Way, the Truth, and the Life’, and meeting him in the eucharist, especially at a Youth 2000 event, helped me to affirm my faith in him. Once you say yes to Jesus you have to say yes to his mission (see Matthew 28:18-20) and I have spent a lot of time since striving to be a good Christian, a good friend, to all those I meet, by introducing them to Christ, remembering to come before him in the tabernacle frequently, to rely on his grace to transform my success into his fruitfulness. Praised be Jesus Christ.
Born into a Catholic family as the middle child of five in Yorkshire and homeschooled by my Mother, which meant I was very fortunate to practise and learn about the faith on a daily basis. When I turned 16, I made the choice to go into school to study A-levels. This was a great time for me adapting to the vastly different lifestyle, but one thing that was clear to me was that my faith life took a back seat as my social life grew bigger. I didn't forget about God but I didn't have a relationship with Him as such. In my second year I began dating girls; this brought me to a fork in the road where I had to decide wether or not I would carry my "family faith" on. At this point in my life I decided to make one last attempt to see God in my life before I removed Him from the picture altogether.
This time coincided with the dates of a prayer festival I used to attend with my family as a child, run by Youth 2000; and so with only a few hours notice, I got on a coach with a bunch of young Catholics I'd never met before and went to a place called Walsingham in Norfolk. In the five days I was there, more became clear to me about Jesus than had in my whole life. This was the first time I recognised my faith as my own and realised how present Jesus had been in my life even prior to this discovery. From that week on my life changed.
It didn't come all at once, I took a gap year and spent most of it working with different Catholic youth groups and attending different events. Some of these events were lead by Youth 2000 and so I became more and more inspired by their message and more involved with the team. After my gap year I began studying Chemical Engineering in London and had a great Catholic support network of friends there I had met through Youth 2000. The events also gave me a get away from university life every couple of months where I could give a weekend to God.
After a while I felt God calling me to give back and be a part of what gave me a good foundation to know Jesus more deeply. I began helping out where I could and I got to know the team really well by just serving where I was most useful. By the end of that year I really felt like part of a family and so much stronger in my faith! I am currently working for Youth 2000 as national fundraising coordinator. God is good!
I was raised up in a Catholic family in a small, countryside parish. I’ve been really lucky in that my parents always showed us the meaning of sacrificial love, and have always wanted to share the faith with us - in all the late night conversations around the woodburner, kitchen-counter discussions with wine and crisps, and times around the table that always fit one more person - teaching us about goodness, about beauty, about truth.
This was all great - but there comes a time when you have to claim your faith as your own. My mom found out about Youth 2000 from a friend when I was 16, so me and two of my sisters bundled into a car and headed off to Walsingham for the summer prayer festival. Little did I know this was the start of a journey that went much further than the 2 hour drive to Walsingham. My time at Youth 2000 showed me that the catholic church is ALIVE (something I needed to know after growing up in a tiny parish!). It helped me discover and CLAIM my true identity as a daughter of the living God; the daughter of a Father who knows me and loves me through every step and every stumble. I discovered the power of the Holy Spirit in the Eucharist, the sacraments and in Worship, and I saw the healing power of the Victorious Christ, the Conquering King, the Lion of the Judah. I came face to face my vulnerabilities, struggles and biggest fears and watched as Christ conquered them right before my eyes (and then cried a lot #weeper). And I know there’s still more to discover and that’s really exciting - God is never done with me! Y2K’s been a real anchor for me throughout this time where I’m still ‘becoming' who I am. In meeting loads of really awesome and inspiring people I found the deeper sense of home, family, belonging and fellowship that I’d always been looking for.
Little did I know I would find it in the middle of a muddy field.
(I'm a third year Architecture student in Edinburgh. I make cakes and drink coffee.)
My name is Martha Harrold and I am 20 years old. I am currently working in a coffee shop in Wiltshire, where I make (and drink) lots of lovely coffees all day long. It’s one of the best jobs in the world. However, I am planning to study midwifery at some point in the next few years, as I have a great love for mothers and babies, as well as coffee.
I also have a great love for Jesus. This definitely was first instilled in me though my family. I grew up going to Mass and praying with my family every day, and I count myself really blessed to have had this firm foundation in my faith.
When I was 15, I had a powerful encounter with God in confession and adoration at the Youth2000 summer festival in Walsingham. At the time, I was really trying to work out whether all of this ‘Catholic stuff’ was something I wanted for myself. I remember being so inspired by the Youth2000 team and thinking, “I want this. Whatever these people have, I want it.” Quickly I discovered that what they had was a relationship with Jesus so I set about trying to make this the number one priority in my life.
From that moment in a marquee in Walsingham when I was 15, up until now, I have been drawn so deeply into God’s love. It has taken me on the most amazing adventures and I am so excited and thankful to be a part of a team this year that 5 years ago, God used to impact me so greatly.
I was not raised Catholic, although my parents were Christian - in fact I spent a lot of my early teens protesting about how strange the Catholic Church was. It wasn't until both my parents converted to catholicism and started taking me to mass with them that I began to change my mind. Over a period of about a month, for reasons that I can't explain other than the intervention of the Holy Spirit, I did a u turn and decided that I was going to become Catholic myself!
My faith really came alive at university where I ran the Catholic Society and saw what it is to be part of a youthful, vibrant faith community. Now I've graduated, I've been very blessed to be part of Youth 2000 which has softened the blow of leaving such a beautiful Catholic environment behind.
I didn't come across Youth 2000 until a year ago and only properly got involved last summer at Walsingham. However, I have been struck by how much like home it feels. One of the marks of a thriving Catholic community is that anybody can find the welcome and love of Christ there - and Youth 2000 definitely manages that. I know how important having a network of good, honest Catholic friends has been to me so would encourage anybody feeling a bit alone in their faith to get involved, you really don't have to do it all by yourself!
My story so far has been a joy, a great gift and a canny life (canny means good for those not blessed to be from the North), but that does not mean it's been easy. There has been illness, rejection, failure, loneliness. I was rather awkward growing up. Never fully fit in. But while at university I was tricked by a friend in the chaplaincy to move some chairs, thus meaning I ended up attending the Leeds Youth 2000 retreat that year. There though for the first time I truly experienced the Blessed Sacrament and Confession for the first time. I was overwhelmed and launched on a journey of healing and faith that took me from being a 1 hr on Sunday (2hrs at Easter) Catholic, to someone that desires to live out the faith daily.
With continued support from Youth 2000 retreats, I've gained true friendship, learned to love the awkward, wacky person I am, and the God that made him. And with it I know I'm not alone or a reject, and my failures are still for God's glory. This is how I now walk with joy and can't wait for the next pages of the story to be written and to hopefully provide opportunities for God to do the same as He did for me in someone else's life.
My name is Rosie, I am 19 and I am studying Ancient History at Cardiff Uni. My family are a strong practising Catholic family, who were fortunate to have been introduced to Youth 2000 many years ago by some family friends and we have not stopped going since! As a family, praying together and getting to mass where we can is such a gift, something I didn’t always appreciate. My parents always encouraged us to make time to pray together in evening and for a while I didn’t get it, didn’t understand the church and I couldn’t comprehend why I was praying when my prayers weren’t always being answered. But then I realised that I wasn’t living my faith, I was just going along with what my parents were encouraging my siblings and I to do because it was a routine.
From recognising this, I chose to say yes to God and to the faith, to really make it mine. I have been so blessed to have grown up with Youth 2000 without which I can honestly say, I would have fallen away from our faith a long time ago. I had always struggled with the lack of fellowship, the lack of youth in my local church and always being the only Catholic aside from my family in school just because I grew up in the countryside. But in those moments when I just felt like quitting, I’d usually end up coming to one of the retreats and being totally reminded of God’s love for us. I encountered God in such a powerful and loving way just simply by being present with Blessed Sacrament on retreats and found I couldn’t walk away from Him! The shared journey that we experience on the retreats where everyone is transformed, filled with peace and joy, and the Holy Spirit is just an amazing experience to encounter and one of the things I love most about Youth 2000.
Youth 2000 has played a massive part in my faith journey. I grew up in a Catholic family and was very fortunate to be able to see my parents examples of faith and learn about the faith from a young age. But when I was a teenager, I reached that point where I was faced with that challenge of bringing that knowledge "from the head to the heart". Was this faith, its teachings and the sacraments something I believed in personally and wanted to choose for myself or was it just head knowledge, something I went through the motions with, my parents faith? It was at a Youth 2000 festival in Walsingham when I was going through a really tough period in my life, where I encountered Jesus in a powerful way in the Sacrament of Confession. This started a process of healing in me and I began to discover that I did very much believe in a real, tangible person who is also God: Jesus Christ, and that I could have a personal relationship with him.
Since then, my faith has been a very real part of my life and it's such joy to be living out this adventure of life with that as an integral part. I work part-time as a school chaplain in S-W London and part-time for Youth 2000, doing admin and fundraising.
Youth 2000 retreats and events present the Catholic faith to young people in an amazingly beautiful, uplifting and life-giving, yet simple, way, with 24/7 Adoration, incredible times of worship, the Sacraments and teaching. It is such a joy to serve in this mission and I thank God for how he worked on my heart in that field those years ago.
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lam 3:22-23
Youth 2000 was a real gift for me after I returned from a pilgrimage to a Marian Shrine and decided that I wanted to live out my faith fully. I had joined a prayer group in my parish which really supported me but I was the youngest member by several decades. A friend told me about Youth 2000 so I nervously got on a bus from Scotland with people I had never met before to attend the Walsingham Youth 2000 Prayer Festival. It was the first time I had ever seen so many young people together really interested in their faith. I was blown away by the people I met, they were authentically trying to follow Christ and live the gospel message with joy. I had never seen so many religious brothers & sisters together and having the opportunity to chat to them and ask for advice was really amazing. The highlight for me was the perpetual adoration which drew me into deeper times of prayer with God and praying the rosary together each day.
On returning home I helped get the bus organised from Scotland for the following year, and saw graces fall on the people that attended for the first time, including my sister. At that point Christina and I were on the verge of going to Youth 2000 and asking to join their mission team, but it wasn't God's timing yet. After working at Craig Lodge House of Prayer and then running school retreats in my own diocese, God opened a door for me to come and work for Youth 2000 and Walsingham Shrine. I am so excited to be part of the team developing the next step for Youth 2000 here in England's Nazareth! Really hope to see you in Walsingham at one of our new 1061 formation retreats soon! +